The incorporation of highly luminescent core–shell quantum dots (QDs) within a metal–organic framework (MOF) is achieved through a one-pot method. Through appropriate surface functionalization, the QDs are solubilized within MOF-5 growth media. This permits the incorporation of the QDs within the evolving framework during the reaction. The resulting QD@MOF-5 composites are characterized using X-ray fluorescence, cross-sectional confocal microscopy, energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy, and small-angle X-ray scattering. The synergistic combination of luminescent QDs and the controlled porosity of MOF-5 in the QD@MOF-5 composites is harnessed within a prototype molecular sensor that can discriminate on the basis of molecular size.